Same-Sex Child Support in Pennsylvania

In May 2014, a federal judge determined that the law in Pennsylvania that banned same-sex marriages was unconstitutional. As such, more and more same-sex couples in the state are pursuing marriage, and more questions surrounding same-sex couples’ rights and requirements are arising.

The legal proceedings of divorce and adoption, for example, are both now at the forefront of discussion for married same-sex couples in Pennsylvania. Same-sex child support could be an issue for same-sex couples. If you are in a same-sex relationship in Pennsylvania and have a child or children, here is what you need to know about same-sex child support:

Requirements for Paying Child Support

Many same-sex partners make the decision to have children together in the state of Pennsylvania. In some cases, one partner will undergo artificial insemination to become pregnant; the couple may decide to adopt a child together; or one partner may bring a child from a previous relationship into the relationship. In all cases, the issue of child support must be raised in the event that the couple separates.

In the case that one partner in the relationship has adopted the other parent’s child(ren), Pennsylvania law requires that the adoptive parent pay child support if the couple separates. In this case, or in the case that both parents have adopted a child together, child support payments would follow regular guidelines, as detailed in Pennsylvania Rule 1910.16-1. However, if the other parent has not adopted the child(ren) and the couple separates, then that parent is not responsible for the financial support of the child(ren), except in special circumstances.

In the case a non-biological and non-adoptive relationship exists between parent and child (such as a parent who has raised a partner’s biological child after the decision to have a child together), determining who pays child support in the event of a separation is more difficult.

In one case in Pennsylvania in 2005, Jones v. Jones, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania awarded custody to the non-biological parent in a relationship involving two female partners. This was done based on the legal concept of in loco parentis, which is Latin for “in place of a parent.” This demonstrates that the court may consider circumstances such as the parent’s role in the child’s life, rather than strictly biologically binding factors when determining custody and child support.

Seek Legal Counsel

If you are going through a same-sex separation in Pennsylvania and there are children involved, the most important thing you can do is protect both you and your child’s rights. The attorneys at ARM Lawyers can help construct a child support plan that best fits you and your child’s needs.